MATCH REPORT: Dorking Wanderers (H)

Aldershot will be wondering how they didn’t finish with all three points as a dominant performance only earned a draw as Alfie Rutherford’s goal cancelled out Josh Barrett’s early opener.

Things got off to a superb start for the Shots as they were gifted an early lead when Dorking ‘keeper Harrison Male’s clearance fell straight to the feet of Lorent Tolaj. The Swiss striker played Josh Barrett in on goal and the midfielder showed fantastic composure to slot the ball under Male and put his side in front in just the second minute.

The Shots were looking comfortable in possession and were dominating the early processions without correlating their upper hand into chances created until around the 15th minute when a flurry of chances came all at once.

Ryan Glover moved back to the left wingback position he’s been seen most at this season, and as a result, was able to continue his flourishing partnership with Ollie Harfield and Aldershot were looking dangerous down that side.

A neat move down that wing led to the first of the flurry of chances as Harfield’s delivery was touched down by James Daly for Tolaj to send a half-volley towards goal that forced a great save from Male.

A couple of minutes later, goalscorer Barrett came close to his and his side’s second after Theo Widdrington dinked a great ball down the right for Tyler Frost to run onto and find Barrett in the middle.

Within that same minute, Aldershot broke forward again, but Tommy Willard, who had been recalled from his loan at Worthing, dragged a left-footed effort from a tight angle just wide of the post.

Dorking weren’t completely out of the game, but it took until the 41st minute for them to seriously threaten the Shots goal as Seb Bowerman found himself free at the far post, only to blast his effort over the bar.

If the visitors perhaps should have scored from that chance, Aldershot should have definitely had their second a minute later as Lorent Tolaj was slipped through on goal by James Daly, but a strong arm from Male denied the Shots’ striker and as the ball bounced toward goal, a Dorking defender was able to clear it into touch.

With seven minutes of added time shown for the first-half, Dorking again should have equalised and gone into the break level as Isaac Philpot headed over a neatly worked free-kick routine despite finding himself unmarked in the 49th minute.

There was still time for another Shots opportunity, though, as James Daly almost pulled off a sensational bit of play that would have been a goal of the season contender as he raced to the ball before the Dorking defence, kept the ball up and volleyed on the turn, only to be denied by another great save by Male.


The first chance after the break saw the Shots carry their momentum into the second-half but this time found joy down the right after Jordi van Stappershoef came out to claim a Dorking corner and start a counter attack. Tyler Frost was denied by Male, however.

Frost’s runs from deep were causing Dorking problems and in the 62nd minute found himself in again but this time a superb sliding challenge from Seb Bowerman denied him as he shaped up to shoot.

Two minutes later, Aldershot came closer to finding a second as Ryan Glover smashed a powerful effort into the side netting after a fantastic touch plucked the ball out of the air and he cut in onto his right foot.

Another great opportunity for the Shots could only find the side netting in the 74th minute as James Daly showed electric pace to beat the Dorking defence and on-rushing Male to the ball but his poke past the visiting ‘keeper was inches wide.

But the tally of misses proved costly as Dorking equalised in the 75th minute. Jimmy Muitt’s effort was superbly blocked by Cian Harries but it fell straight to Alfie Rutherford who found the bottom corner.

And despite all of the Shots dominance, Dorking should have taken the lead four minutes later but Jordi van Stappershoef pulled off a fantastic save to deny Charlie Carter who had broken into the box and found himself one-on-one with the Dutch ‘keeper.

Typically, in what was a real end-to-end battle throughout, the Shots should then have found themselves back in front in the 83rd minute but James Daly somehow missed the target as the ball fell to his feet with the goal gaping.

Four minutes was added and in the last of those, it was the same old story as a superb Harrison Male save denied Aldershot once more. Lorent Tolaj headed a deep cross toward the top corner but Dorking’s stopper showed fantastic reactions to tip it over the bar.

Shots lineup: 1. Jordi van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington (39. Kwame Thomas 70′), 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj (C), 11. Ryan Glover, 20. Josh Barrett (10. Josh Stokes 58’), 26. James Daly, 27. Tommy Willard.

Subs not used: 7. Stuart O’Keefe, 18. Olly Scott, 23. Hady Ghandour.